Bible Character Study on Naomi

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Here is a Bible study on the character of Naomi from the Book of Ruth

The Blessings of Family

In the days of Ancient Israel, before the time of Christ, it was considered to be a blessing from God if you had a large family and even in Jesus day, if a couple was childless, the Jews considered them as being under some sort of curse due to some sin in the family.  The Jews believed that God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply so this was expected of every Jewish family and if there were no children in the family then God had, in their minds, obviously placed that family under some sort of curse because of their sin so with this background in the cultural belief system of the Jews we begin the story of Naomi taken from the Book of Ruth.

Bible Character Study on Naomi

Family Loss

There was a time of severe drought in Judah and “Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons” (Ruth 1:3) and after her sons took Moabite wives (Ruth 1:4) both died “so that the woman (Naomi) was left without her two sons and her husband” (Ruth 1:5).  Can you picture how much shame she felt and the Jews must have judged her by these tragedies.  All she could do was tell her two daughter-in-laws to go back to Moab to their families (Ruth 1:8) and so “Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to” Naomi (Ruth 1:14) as Orpah returned but Ruth said “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more” (Ruth 1:16-18).

Arriving in Bethlehem

When Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, Naomi was bitter and wanted to be called “Mara” which means “bitter” (Ruth 1:20) and not Naomi anymore which means “pleasant.”  Maybe the reason Naomi went to Bethlehem was because “Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz” (Ruth 2:1). Then “Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”  So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech” (Ruth 2:2-3). Can you already see how God is working things out?  Naomi saw the advantage of this too and told Ruth “Go, my daughter.”

The Kinsman Redeemer

Ruth came back with sacks full of grain after “Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.  And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her” (Ruth 2:15-16) “And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers” (Ruth 2:20).  God had been watching over Ruth too as well as Naomi as Boaz commanded the men “Have I not charged the young men not to touch you” (Ruth 2:9) with the clear meaning of this “keep your hands off of her, do not molest her in any way” and so by following Naomi’s suggestions, Ruth had been placed under the sovereign care and protection of God through Boaz’ hand.

Ruth Redeemed

Naomi once more suggests something for Ruth’s benefit saying “Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do” (Ruth 3:2-5).

Boaz and Ruth Married

Then “Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!  He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”  Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David” (Ruth 4:13-17) so after Boaz redeemed Ruth by being her kinsman redeemer and marrying her, Naomi could once again live up to her name of “pleasant” and be “Mara” or bitter no more.

Conclusion

At Naomi’s suggestions to Ruth, she saved herself from being childless as well as it was said of Naomi, “A son has been born to Naomi” and this son would be in the lineage of King David but even greater, the child would be in the family line of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, Who is the Great Redeemer of all who place their trust in Him.

Read more here: Ruth Bible Story Summary

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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